State of the art centre – Javett-UP

MARKO SVICEVIC AND BRADLEY TJONGARERO

On 11 August the Javett-UP, a new state of the art centre currently under construction on UP’s Hatfield and South Campus, began to change the landscape of Pretoria with the addition of a bridge over Lynnwood Road. The Javett-UP project, is one of the largest art construction projects aimed at promoting arts and culture heritage in South Africa.

Starting on the morning of 11 August, seven beams each over 33m long and weighing 71 tons were placed on four tiers. The process, which took 26 hours to complete, resulted in a 34m long and 20m wide bridge over Lynnwood Road that will house a gallery. Two 300 ton mobile hydraulic cranes were needed to lift and position the beams in place.

According to the personal assistant to the Director of the Javett-UP, Samantha Saevitzon, the Javett-UP will have nine indoor exhibition spaces, a 117-seat auditorium, a museum square, an art conservation area and an outdoor exhibition venue. The centre will cater to and host an array of artworks from South Africa and Africa. Various academic programmes will also be facilitated through the Javett-UP and coordinated by UP.

Mr Pieter Mathews from Mathews & Associates Architects, head architect of the project, informed Perdeby about the elements behind the unique architecture of the centre. Speaking in regard to the Mapungubwe Mountain that will house the Mapungubwe collection Mathews said, “This solid, iconic, sculptural, vault-like structure will be molded using custom formed shuttering to create deeply carved random recesses in the external concrete surface.”

Mathews added that “These grooves will create a constantly changing play of light and shadow on the building’s surface as the sun moves through the day and when viewed from the passing cars on the busy Lynnwood road.”

The innovative architecture of the project resulted in the Javett-UP centre being nominated for the St Gobain Architectural Award, which is an award which recognises exceptional projects throughout Africa.

Prof. Annél van Aswegen, a representative from the office of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, and UP coordinator of the Javett- UP project, said that the centre would add academic value to UP as students would have access to its artistic resources. Moreover, the centre would serve as a public museum and facilitate public engagement through methods such as school visits. Prof. van Aswegen added that the centre is expected to be the focal point of South African art.

The resources that will be displayed at the centre include those currently being housed at UP, the Mapungubwe collection and the private collection of the Javett family. Prof. van Aswegen explained that there will also be a showroom that will enable UP students to exhibit their own art pieces.

Among other aspects, Prof. van Aswegen reiterated the importance in the centre serving the wider community, saying that it will not only link the Hatfield and South Campuses but will also link the greater Tshwane area with UP. This will aid in projects for the Hatfield village development.

Construction on the Javett-UP is expected to be completed in 2018.

 

Photo: Stefan Stander.

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